In its basic format, the RAAVEN skill was put together so we can use the skills of DBT, integrated with the theories of Schema Therapy; to change the way we communicate with the many different parts of our own unique personality system. Normally, this internal narrative can take on a very rigid and critical perspective, so the RAAVEN skill offers the possibility of turning this into a more compassionate, caring, and validating intrapersonal communication style. This new way of speaking to ourselves, and therefore our parts, can feel a little awkward and mechanical at first. At the same time, when done consistently, it often promotes some significant behaviour changes. The primary focus of the RAAVEN skill is to provide the narrative we need to re-educate the parts of our personality that have been moved to take action by the active and dominant schema in our system. These parts are probably just trying to get through the situation, one that’s seen as being dangerous, by using the modes of behaviour they think are necessary to survive.

“The primary focus of the RAAVEN exercise is to provide the narrative we need to re-educate the parts of our personality that are initiated by the dominant schema that’s active in our system.”


~Steven Morris RP

 When our parts are activated, it’s usually with a single purpose in mind. At the time of their original creation, every part of our personality has a specific job to do. For example, it’s often the case that the Emotional Child parts of our personality are stuck in a time when their job was definitely needed. Unfortunately, they actually don’t realize that they no longer need to do the thing they do because that was then, and this is now, and we aren’t in those situations anymore. Following the steps of the R.A.A.V.E.N skill, and completing the worksheet associated with it, provides us with the narrative we use to re-educate these parts of our personality. Bringing them into the here and now and releasing the burden of responsibility being held to protect.

When practiced on a regular basis, this new internal narrative will allow the part to feel heard and understood. This can cause it to let go of the desire to protect the vulnerable child with such an all or nothing purpose. Creating the possibility of finally Live the Life we Want to Live, stepping into the new world of possibility that we have now created. In the PDF at the bottom of the page connected to this particular video, you will find a basic run down of how we use the RAAVEN skill effectively. Keep in mind that making this a usable skill means turning it into a short and to the point internal narrative that, when practiced on a regular basis using the Planning Ahead to Build Mastery skill, will kick into gear when the part gets activated in what are perceived as emotionally difficult situations.

“Like any other skill, learning to use the RAAVEN Skill effectively, takes practice, practice, and even more practice, then when you think you’ve practiced enough, practice it some more!”


~Steven Morris RP.

 In my one-on-one work, I often find, when people first start using this skill, they tend to over do it with words that complicate the entire process. If you find that your RAAVEN skill is taking a lot of words to explain and you’re using additional paper to justify what’s going on in your system, save this type of exploration for your journal. This isn’t what the RAAVEN skill is for. Journalling is an essential part of building and understanding, an appreciation, and a gratitude for why parts do what they do. This is really important to have before you start to complete the RAAVEN worksheet. Mindful Journalling is a specific thing to do that will help you build this knowledge, so look out for the video on Mindful Journalling to help you develop this skill too.

In the PDF at the bottom of this page, there is additional information intended to guide you through the steps of the skill itself. Once you are familiar with them, use the worksheet contained in the PDF to develop the RAAVEN Narrative. Try to incorporate this way of speaking to your parts into your daily practice. This will be difficult to do at first, it may feel strange and a little mechanical or clunky. Like anything worth doing, with practice it will become easier to do. Over time, you will begin to experience the benefits of this skill, in particular when it comes to the area of unconditional self-acceptance. The narrative will shift from being clunky and mechanical to feeling natural and organic, like you’ve always talked to yourself this way.

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